We know Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us,” willingly sacrificed Himself on the cross for our forgiveness and salvation, and ascended into heaven. But what is the Son of God doing now?
Read Acts 2:33.
- What significant act did Christ perform after His ascension? Why was it important?
- How does receiving the Holy Spirit equip us to live a Christ-centered life?
Read Romans 8:34.
- Why are we not condemned for our sin based on this passage of scripture?
- Read the remaining verses of Romans 8, what blessing do we experience based on Jesus’ intercession? [think love]
In the Old Testament, God established a system of sacrifices. Two of the described sacrifices, the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering, were compulsory, or required by law. When an Israelite sinned by breaking the commandment of God, they were required to offer either a Sin Offering or Trespass Offering, depending on the nature of the committed sin.
To avoid confusion, sacrifices did not literally forgive sins. Sacrifices were the symbolic, outward expressions of an Israelite’s inner repentance of sin, and God’s gracious forgiveness. The symbolic nature of sacrifices, however, did not excuse the Israelites to neglect the Sin and Trespass Offerings when they sinned. Both types of sacrifices were still required by God’s law, and an Israelite would follow God’s law as a response of faith.
Now you may be wandering, why don’t we still do sacrifices today?
Read Hebrews 10:1-25.
- How are the OT sacrifices and Jesus’ sacrifice contrasted?
- What do you think it means when it says, “Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins” in Hebrews 10:12?
- Hebrews 10:19-25 describe some effects of Christ’s permanent sacrifice for sin, what are they?
In the gospel of John, chapter 5, we read:
The Jews were seeking all the more to kill [Jesus], because not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God [John 5:18]
In order to provide proof for His claim as the Son of God, and show the Jews their error, Jesus presents a number of witnesses in John 5:30-47. A witness is one who provides evidence or support, and in the passage we see the evidence Jesus’ witnesses offer in support of His identity as the Son of God.
Read John 5:30-47.
- What are the different witnesses Jesus presents?
- Is there a reason Jesus provides multiple witnesses?
- Do the witnesses mentioned in the John 5:30-47 exist today?
Throughout the Old Testament there are numerous prophecies [predictions of the future divinely inspired] testifying of the birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Knowledge of these Messianic prophecies is important in understanding Jesus’ ministry, God’s sovereignty, the Bible, and our faith.
Read the following passages of Scripture and reflect on how they relate to Jesus:
- Isaiah 7:14 & Matthew 1:23-25.
- Zechariah 9:9 & Matthew 21:1-11.
- Psalm 22:16 & John 20:25-27.
- Psalm 22:18 & Matthew 27:35-36.
- Psalm 16:10 & Mark 16:6-7.
What do these passages teach you about:
- Jesus’ Ministry?
- God’s Sovereignty?
How do these passages change your perception of the Bible?
Last week we discussed the Narrative, or Story, of Jesus’ birth and childhood, and discovered Jesus’ whole life was His ministry, not only the three years prior to His redemptive death on the cross. But believe it or not, last week was the “appetizer” to the “main course” of this week’s discussion. The impact of Jesus’ ministry on creation does not begin with His birth and end with His ascension. The impact of Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation begins “in THE beginning,” and extends infinitely forward through the expanse of eternal time [wrap your head around that].
The verses of discussion for this week are:
- John 1:1, 14.
- Philippians 2:5-8.
- Hebrews 4:14-16.
Read these passages of scripture while reflecting on the narrative of Jesus’ birth. Seek to understand the connection between the vastness of Jesus in the above verses with the smallness of Jesus in the manger [Luke 2:7].
Read through the passages multiple times, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the full and correct understanding of these verses, and to increase your understanding of the greatness and humility of our Savior.